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Particularly for parents of a newborn who hear that word for the first time, it’s so alarming.

“Even for me, I was older, but I was still pushed to do a surgery, but I resisted that and I feel very lucky to do that.”Janet Green, who more readily identifies with the term DSD, works with Accord Alliance, an organization of health-care professionals and advocates that launched last March with the goal of promoting a new standard of care for people with DSD. It’s a wonderful thing for everyone’s self-perceived inadequacies or differences that our genitals are not placed on our foreheads!

Janet says most intersex people—at least those that aren’t world-class runners—live pedestrian lives. ”The intersex-rights movement seeks the same things most civil-rights struggles seek: mainstream acceptance, equality under the law, the right to safely be “out.” And, oh yeah: They don’t want to be called “hermaphrodites.”“The term ‘hermaphrodite’ is stigmatizing and confusing,” says Alice Domurat Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University who is cited regularly by intersex individuals and advocates.

Despite the fact that intersexuality is much more common than generally reported, however, except for brief news sensations like Semenya—and recent speculation about singer Lady Gaga—hardly ever does anyone think about intersex people.